This weekend saw Liam O’Brien take Irish short track speed skating to new heights at the World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
O’Brien opened his second World Cup at the Halyk Arena with the 1500 metres quarterfinals where he lined up in Heat 1. He was racing well until he was impeded by another skater and crossed the line in fifth place with a modest time of 2:55.108. However, he subsequently was advanced to the semi-finals the following afternoon. He also participated in the 500 metres (2) heats where he came fourth in Heat 1 with no time recorded.
On the afternoon of the second day of competition, O’Brien took his place in Heat 2 of the 1500 metres semi-finals, making history for Ireland in the process. No Irish short track speed skater had ever competed in an ISU World Cup semi before. He raced valiantly finishing in 6th place and just missed out on qualifying for the B Final in a time of 2:17.986.
O’Brien closed his racing in Almaty with the repechage quarterfinals of the 500 metres (2) event. Despite posting a new personal best time of 42.212 in Heat 3, he just missed out on advancing to the repechage semi-finals by one place.
“The last two World Cups I’ve learnt a lot and will take it all into training for the upcoming competitions,” O’Brien said. “I am happy to have set new personal bests and my first top 20 at a World Cup event. I hope to there in the semi-finals once again this season and continue to improve on my results.”